JUST IN: Ranking of NHL Teams by Average Goals Allowed per Game

More than halfway through the 2023-24 NHL season, the standings show which teams are in good shape to find themselves in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this spring. Some teams have played to their potential, while some have exceeded expectations, and some have fallen short. While scoring goals is critical for winning games, so is preventing them. 

Elite goaltending gives teams a chance to win games and keeps them in close games, while poor goaltending costs games. It’s not only important to have a solid #1 goalie but also a strong #2. Teams rely on their goalies to make the big saves. Teams also rely on a strong defense to prevent high-danger chances.

Which teams are allowing the most goals per game, and which are allowing the least? Let’s take a look at how the NHL teams stack up when the standings are ordered by goals against per game played from fewest to most.

1. Winnipeg Jets – 2.30
2. Vancouver Canucks – 2.55
3. Florida Panthers – 2.57
4. Boston Bruins – 2.59
5. Los Angeles Kings – 2.66
6. Pittsburgh Penguins – 2.70
7. Vegas Golden Knights – 2.74
8. Edmonton Oilers – 2.76
9. New York Rangers – 2.86
9. Seattle Kraken – 2.86
11. Philadelphia Flyers – 2.92
12. Carolina Hurricanes – 2.94
13. Washington Capitals – 3.02
14. Dallas Stars – 3.06
14. Arizona Coyotes – 3.06
16. Calgary Flames – 3.08
17. St. Louis Blues – 3.10
17. Colorado Avalanche – 3.10
19. Nashville Predators – 3.12
20. Buffalo Sabres – 3.14
21. Toronto Maple Leafs – 3.17
22. Detroit Red Wings – 3.22
23. Tampa Bay Lightning – 3.28
24. New York Islanders – 3.33
25. Minnesota Wild – 3.35
26. Anaheim Ducks – 3.43
27. Montreal Canadiens – 3.49
28. Chicago Blackhawks – 3.52
29. New Jersey Devils – 3.55
30. Ottawa Senators – 3.65
31. Columbus Blue Jackets – 3.66
32. San Jose Sharks – 3.84

It makes sense to see the Chicago Blackhawks, Ottawa Senators, Columbus Blue Jackets, and San Jose Sharks at the bottom of the standings when ordered by goals against per game played. These are the four teams at the very bottom of each of the four divisions in the actual standings, so it isn’t shocking that they are giving up the most GA/GP.

The outlier at the bottom of this list is the New Jersey Devils, who have been about as “mid” as a team can be this season. Their goaltending and defense have been very poor, so it isn’t surprising that they have given up more goals per game than 28 other teams. That’s wild given that they have 21 more points than the Blackhawks. The Devils are ninth in goals for per game played, with 3.43 GF/GP. Still, the Devils are underperforming expectations following last season.

The Winnipeg Jets, Vancouver Canucks, Florida Panthers, and Boston Bruins appear at the top of this list, with the fewest goals against per game. These are three of the strongest teams in the NHL right now, and they have elite goaltending. The Jets’ #1 goaltender, Connor Hellebuyck, is second in the league in goals-against average and third in save percentage. Among other top teams in the league, the Vegas Golden Knights clock in at seventh in fewest goals against per game. The New York Rangers appear at ninth. 

A few top teams are missing from the top 10 on this list. One of those teams is the Colorado Avalanche, who are currently in first place in the Atlantic Division. Yet, they are tied for 17th in fewest goals against per game. They’re giving up more goals than half of the NHL, but they have the most points in their division and second-most in the Western Conference. The Avalanche are first in goals for per game played with 3.84 GF/GP. They are outscoring their opponents. 

Goals against per game is a key stat, as it shows which teams are keeping their opponents off the scoreboard. Strong defense and goaltending are critical. As teams continue to push for a playoff spot down the stretch, every point matters.

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